Effects of freeze damage on litter production, quality and decomposition in a loblolly pine forest in central China

Qingpeng Yang, Ming Xu, Yonggang Chi, Yunpu Zheng, Ruichang Shen, Silong Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background and aims: Freeze events can strongly influence many ecosystem processes. However, the effects of freeze events on litter production, litter quality, and decomposition are rarely documented. Methods: In this study, litter fall was measured monthly for 2 years. Two litter decomposition experiments were also performed using freeze-damaged litter and non-damaged litter in a loblolly pine forest. Results: The freeze event in November 2009 caused a pronounced pulse of needle litter fall. The freeze-damaged needle litter was shown to have higher N concentration and lower C/N ratio compared with the normal falling needle litter. This finding indicates that freeze damage significantly increased needle quality because of incomplete nutrient resorption. The decomposition of freeze-damaged needle litter was faster than that of normal falling yellow needle litter and slower than that of hand-picked green needle litter. The decomposition rate constant (k) was negatively correlated with the C/N ratio in the needle litter. Our results also showed that the different climatic conditions influence patterns of litter decomposition. Conclusions: This study suggests that freeze events significantly alter litter quantity and quality, thus affecting litter decomposition rates in a loblolly pine forest in central China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-458
Number of pages10
JournalPlant and Soil
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Soil Science
  • Plant Science


  • Freeze damage
  • Litter decomposition
  • Litter fall
  • Litter quality
  • Loblolly pine
  • Nutrient resorption


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of freeze damage on litter production, quality and decomposition in a loblolly pine forest in central China'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this